A tiny amount of microscopic moon dust sold for half a million dollars after NASA determined that the particles were part of the first lunar sample collected by Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong.
Bonhams auctioned Apollo 11 moon dust for $504,375 as part of the Space History sale held on Wednesday (April 13th) in New York. The amount, which included the buyer’s premium, was less than Bonham’s Pre-auction estimate from $800,000 to $1.2 million.
Collection 21 displayed on your screens represents a unique opportunity to own a NASA-certified piece of Apollo 11 Ian Ealing, director of Fine Books and Manuscripts at Bonhams, said before opening the bid at $220,000.
Ehling’s hammer fell to $400,000 after receiving seven bids. The winning bidder has not been determined.
The successful sale It marks the end of the complex and sometimes complex history of moon dust since it reached Earth in 1969. The tiny samples, which were so small that Bonhams couldn’t provide the total weight and cited their size in microns, were found in the crevices of a bag used to hold the first lunar sample collected by astronaut the moon.
Moon dust spots were used by a NASA curator to determine if the bag, or “emergency sample return container decontamination bag” flew on the Apollo 11 mission after it was sold at a government confiscation auction in 2015. After NASA refused to give up the bag, a Series of lawsuits Submitted by the auction winner resulted in a bag Buyer’s property ruled.
Bonhams sold out samples NASA also delivered them, embedded in a 10-millimeter-diameter carbon black tape attached to five samples of aluminum by a scanning electron microscope. Independent testing performed at Bonhams’ request found that four of the five seeds contained lunar dust particles consistent with the emergency lunar sample collected by Armstrong. The fifth heel had different lunar effects than the other four, possibly due to a change in testing techniques.
NASA generally asserts that lunar material recovered by Apollo is a national treasure and not private property. Narrow exceptions have been made for memorabilia kept by astronauts stained with lunar dust and two sets of International Goodwill Gifts. Even moon rocks were presented to astronauts as Exploration Ambassador Awards In name only samples are on loan from the space agency.
The Apollo 11 emergency sample, which included 492 grams (17.4 ounces) of material finer than 0.4 inch (1 cm), as well as 12 rock fragments larger than 0.4 inch, is still under NASA control, as are the majority of the 842 pounds (382 kilograms) of rock Lunar and core samples, pebbles, sand and dust brought back to Earth by the six Apollo missions that landed on the moon.
Legal sales of human-recovered lunar materials are scarce. In 2018, Sotheby’s sold what was then Government approved sample only From loose moon dust in private hands, three small pebbles were brought back by the former Soviet Union’s Luna 16 robotic probe in 1970. The grains, weighing a total of about 0.2 grams (0.0007 ounces), sold for $855,000.
The same show that was originally gifted to a widow Sergey Korolev, the “chief designer” of the Soviet space program, was sold by Sotheby’s in 1993 for $442,500. With inflation, the 2018 sale reversed an increase of about $87,500.
Other dust-stained equipment from the Apollo moon and ribbon-charged moon samples were sold, but without the certification provided by NASA, making the Bonhams samples unique.
Bonhams’ Space History sales included a total of 22 items, including artifacts from the launch of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, and autographs and photographs of the astronaut.
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